Talk during Mamay’s Libing, (funeral)

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We have a song in our hymn book on page 152 titled God Be With You Til We Meet Again. The night before I left for the Philippines, we sang this very song in the training center in Provo. As we did, I begin to cry. I knew what I was about to go through, and I felt the significance of truly leaving everything behind. I knew the separation I would face shortly after. From family and friends, and from my home. I never expected that I would be physically separated from my family at a time like this. And though I wish there was a way to be there physically, my heart and prayers are truly with you at this time. The separation I face from home as a missionary is much like the separation we all face from our home in heaven, and right now from our dear Mamay. I am sad that Mamay is gone out of this world now. I don’t think I have ever gone through anything quite as hard as this in my life. We were all incredibly privileged to have known him. If there is one word I could describe for him, it would be very simple: HAPPY. There was not a moment I saw my Mamay where he wasn’t either smiling, laughing, or sleeping. It is truly incredible the kind of light and happiness he emulated. My Nanay and Mamay went through more than their face share of challenges in this life. And yet they not only endured, but endured well. Being here in the Philippines now, I more fully appreciate and understood the kind of sacrifices they made that changed all of our lives. Maybe you have never been here. Or maybe over time you have forgotten what it is like. Suffice it to say, the minute I was born, I was born into circumstances that most people only dream of here. Besides making the choice to come to States in 1978, there was another choice my Mamay made before that that would change not just his life, but the life of his family as well. My Nanay just told me this beautiful story on Mother’s Day. I was able to hear her tell it in Tagalog and understand. Truly a gift. I will try now to tell it in English. Bear with me, as that is fading now.Story of Nanay coming home from Palenke. How Mamay had such great faith to accept the Gospel immediately. In choosing to become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, my Mamay left me a legacy of faith that will always carry on with me. He was a wonderful example of great faith. Before my mission, I did not ask or pray to come to the Philippines. But my dear Mamay did. And because of him and his faith, I am here.More than just his choice to become a member, his example of how to lift and love in life will forever remain with me. If you will all picture now his face in your minds, I know you will see him smiling ear to ear. His smile and laugh would fill any room he entered. That’s why he was always little Maya’s favorite. Because he would always laugh and smile with her. I wasn’t able to be there, but I heard that right in the hospital before he died, he was carrying on the same way, joking with the nurses and making everyone laugh.My Mamay did not just choose to join the Church of Jesus Christ, he chose to live the true message of the Gospel. That is to be happy. Our dear Bapa’s favorite scripture illustrates this perfectly: Adam fell that men might be and men are that they might have joy. We exist in this life to be happy. That is our purpose. I go around every day, riding jeepneys, walking down the streets, talking to hundreds of people each week. I tell them: God has a plan for us. It is called the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This plan will make you happier. And though I say it over and over, it never diminishes that simple truth: Our loving Heavenly Father provided a perfect plan for us. The plan of salvation. Also called the plan of happiness. Before this life we were all prepared to come to this world and to prepare to meet God. We were set apart for specific callings and responsibilities. Abraham 3:22-23I know that Mamay was one of those chosen souls as he exercised a very special and divine gift during his life. That gift is called the Priesthood. This week, I was able to meet with my mission president, President Dahle. He gave me a very sweet Priesthood blessing that I will never forget. As he laid his hands on my head, I remembered all the times in my childhood that Mamay would do the same. Mamay was not perfect, none of us are. But he remained worthy throughout his life to exercise the Melchizedek Priesthood and to serve his family through it. In D&C 121 it states:“no power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness and by love unfeigned, by kindness, and pure knowledge, reproving at times with sharpness when moved upon by the Holy Ghost.”On the last Sunday before I left for the Philippines, Mamay invited each of his children to attend Sacrament meeting at the Church. We had all just come together for the previous Sunday for my farewell talk, but Mamay told me that he wanted to bear testimony in particular to his sons. Not very many of them came. I know he felt disappointed that they were not there. But my dear Mamay still made his way to the stand and bore powerful testimony of a specific experience. I wondered then why he felt so inclined to share this particular experience, but as I have been on my mission, his words have rung more than once in my mind. He told a story about one of his sisters who was very sick. He said she was acting very strange and that everyone around her felt as if she had been possessed. He then said how he went to her and gave her a priesthood blessing. He blessed her in the name of Jesus Christ. Through the power and authority given to my Mamay, that evil spirit was cast out of her body. The power of the Priesthood is held by all worthy males in the Church above the age of 12. We believe it is the power and authority of God to perform His work. As Christ did when he was on the earth, miracles like the one Mamay performed can still be performed today. It says something very incredible about my Mamay that he was worthy at that time and at all times to exercise this very special divine power. He possessed in no small measure all the virtues associated with the Priesthood as I quoted from D& C: love, kindness, gentleness, pure knowledge, and long-suffering. I am devastated that as a family we have lost our patriarch, our personal Priesthood leader for the Arcibal family. However, I know that Mamay was foreordained in this world to accomplish a great work. His work has now been accomplished and he is at peace and rest with Our Father in Heaven. As I said earlier, the purpose of this life is to have joy and to prepare to return to live with God. We can have perfect peace knowing that Mamay had both joy and preparation to meet God in this life. The best way we can carry forward now is to have joy ourselves and to further prepare to meet God. After we die our body stays in this world, but our spirit goes to the spirit world. Mamay’s body is still here on this earth, but his spirit is there in the spirit world. In the spirit world there are two states: spirit paradise and spirit prison. If our choices are good we will be in spirit paradise, if they are bad, we will be in spirit prison. Depending on our choices in this life, we will either live in a state of perfect happiness or misery. Alma 40:11-12We will stay in this place until we are resurrected. The spirit world is not our final destination. Here in the Philippines sometimes we go to a place called a waiting shed to wait for the bus or the jeepney to come. The spirit world is like that, a place for us to wait before we are resurrected. That is where Mamay’s spirit is now. We can be assured that like in the words of Alma his spirit is now in a state of rest and peace from all troubles, cares, and sorrow.Like I said the spirit world is not our final destination. Eventually we will leave. When Christ comes again, we will be resurrected. Or our bodies that we left here on this earth will again be reunited with our spirits. Alma 11:43-44As Alma says in these verses, we will all face a final judgement at that time according to our works. If they be good, we will have the opportunity to dwell with our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ in perfect happiness. We will go to one of three kingdoms, either Celestial, the highest, Terrestrial or Telestial. The greatest gift is to go to the Celestial Kingdom. D&C 14:7 This gift to have eternal life is only given to those have accepted and followed Christ’s plan. Christ’s plan is this Gospel. Like it says in this verse we must keep His commandments. Or in other words: In order to receive the gift of eternal life, we must have faith in Jesus Christ, repent, be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end. Without every one of these steps, we cannot dwell with God. Being baptized by someone holding the correct authority is vital to inherit eternal life. Besides making the choice to be baptized, Mamay also made the choice long ago to go to the Oakland temple with his family and to be sealed there. In the temple, there is another sacred ordinance that is vital in order for families to dwell forever with God after this life. The choice that Mamay made to be sealed to his family in the temple of God gives his family the promise, that if we are faithful, we may all dwell with him in the highest state of glory, the Celestial Kingdom. Think now for a minute about what you really want. Is this what you want? If so, it is possible through this Gospel. My immediate family has not yet had this opportunity. But I feel confident that we will someday. John 17:3We can as a whole family someday do as it says “know God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” We can again see our Mamay and dwell in perfect happiness with him in the mansions of heaven. Absolutely none of this, the promise of eternal life with our families is possible if not for the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I would now like to read briefly from a section of Preach My Gospel that has become deeply personal to me here on my mission.Pg. 52 Preach My GospelI invite all of you who may be less than familiar with the words I have spoken about the Plan of Salvation to find out for yourself if the things I am saying are true. Will you go home tonight and pray and ask God if this is His plan? I know if you do, you will feel the same burning peace that I feel in my heart. That is the peace of God.John 14:27

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ.

Amen.

Hello to All from Guagua, Pampanga

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Time is short. Just to let you all know I am doing well still. It has been hard with my Mamay passing away. I won’t forget him and his example though and it gives me more motivation to continue on in diligence and strength. I am so grateful for the blessing of technology in our day. That I could be present for the viewing. My thoughts and prayers are still with you, even as I am far.
The greatest thing I have thought of this week about my grandfather is how he loved others and thought very little of himself. I am trying to do that now. I want to be able to love like he did. Especially the way he loved our Nanay. Hearing from her about their relationship, I know they really did love each other so so much. I hope that I can follow their example of marriage someday. I love all of you and thank you for your prayers for my Nanay especially.Please keep her in your prayers always. The power of prayer is real and has the power to help each of us. I know it because I have never knelt and prayed so hard in my life as in this last week.
To let you know about our work we have a referral who could be baptized tomorrow. Her name is Katherine and she is an architect and her husband an engineer. The Lord truly has miracles in store for us. Mamay is already hard at work as a missionary on the other side. I know we now have the same purpose! To bring more souls to the Kingdom of God.
To Nanay please:
I love you so much Nanay. I miss you and I am working hard still. I want to work so hard because Mamay always worked so hard. And I want to love the way he did, unselfishly. You and Mamay are my inspiration. Be strong. The Lord loves you. I am praying in my heart always for you. And at my bedside every morning and night. May God Bless You.
Love with all my heart,
Sister Mclean
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English Class with the Woods! They are amazing and so hardworking and put together this amazing class. And have taken such good care of me in the last week or so. Love them.

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trike ride in an open area on our drive. Napakaganda!

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Happy Birthday Breanna! Amazing food from a very kind family.

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Me and Cray doing our nails together(one of our less active families) She is only 4 but just like Alexandria, very smart and very talkative haha. Love her

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FHE with the Fajardos. SO much fun! Flour on all our faces after! haha

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FHE with the Fajardos. SO much fun! Flour on all our faces after! haha

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on our way to meet our new referral!

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More Pictures from Guagua

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This is a family, the two older girls are recent converts. One of them is only 14 and she is already partway through Alma. Nahiya siya. But she was so sweet yesterday we made a little green mango cake pile and she blew out a pencil on top. It was the greatest birthday party I have ever been too. And we were basically in the middle of this huge green rice field.

This is a family, the two older girls are recent converts. One of them is only 14 and she is already partway through Alma. Nahiya siya. But she was so sweet yesterday we made a little green mango cake pile and she blew out a pencil on top. It was the greatest birthday party I have ever been too. And we were basically in the middle of this huge green rice field.

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This is a family referral we received this week, Bro Mark and Sis Vilma are the Mom and Dad. The kids are all with Mark in it. Markella(the babae), Jay Mark, Sean Mark and the little guy is Markie. So Cute.

This is a family referral we received this week, Bro Mark and Sis Vilma are the Mom and Dad. The kids are all with Mark in it. Markella(the babae), Jay Mark, Sean Mark and the little guy is Markie. So Cute.

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the little guy is Markie. So Cute.

Sis Anita is like our Mom here in Gua Gua. This is her making her secret Breakfast sandwich. It was amazingly delicious. She is beyond generous, always wanting to give us food and gifts and if she notices we need something steps in. She has the sweetest little baby who is fascinated by my white face and curly hair. They are both so cute. Her baptism will be hopefully next month. So excited for her to be part of this great Church!

Sis Anita is like our Mom here in Gua Gua. This is her making her secret Breakfast sandwich. It was amazingly delicious. She is beyond generous, always wanting to give us food and gifts and if she notices we need something steps in. She has the sweetest little baby who is fascinated by my white face and curly hair. They are both so cute. Her baptism will be hopefully next month. So excited for her to be part of this great Church!

Sis and Bro Malig. These are pioneers in the Philippines. Sis Malig is the RS President and very very hardworking. She has some of the best stories I have ever heard. And some of the strongest faith I have seen ever. I love her and her family!

Sis and Bro Malig. These are pioneers in the Philippines. Sis Malig is the RS President and very very hardworking. She has some of the best stories I have ever heard. And some of the strongest faith I have seen ever. I love her and her family!

Greetings from Guagua!

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This is my new companion. Her name is Sis Villaviles and she is like a Filipina Tangled Princess. She is so kind to everyone, really talks to everyone in this way that makes them feel good about themselves. She is also just very charming and pretty too. I am sad she is about to go home from her mission but I feel so privilieged that I get to be with her this short time in GuaGua!

This is my new companion. Her name is Sis Villaviles and she is like a Filipina Tangled Princess. She is so kind to everyone, really talks to everyone in this way that makes them feel good about themselves. She is also just very charming and pretty too. I am sad she is about to go home from her mission but I feel so privilieged that I get to be with her this short time in GuaGua!

Hey everyone!

How are things going out there in the USA? We sang the national anthem at district meeting and it made me feel very patriotic. Merica! haha…
 I just finished my 2nd transfer and naglipat ako(I moved!) Ha. It’s getting hard to speak in pure English sometimes. So I am now here in GuaGua, which is entirely a different area than I came from in Liozon. In Liozon everything is very close to each other and it’s all pretty rural. We didn’t have to walk across large rice fields or in the city, the houses were are all just really close together and we went from lesson to lesson basically along the main highway. So it is definitely way different here because it’s a real live city here and there are tons and tons of people around all the time. It’s a lot more like Manila. There are not tons and tons of poor people though, most people have jobs and work and studied too. It’s actually not that different from the States except for being in the Philippines obviously! Haha.
It was hard leaving Liozon to be perfectly honest. I had gotten to be close with the people there, even people I hadn’t had the chance to teach very much. I love all of them and so when I got here I honestly cried the first night.
But that is just like life right? We don’t like transitions naturally. Not because we are human but because we are actually eternal beings. Because we have this eternal, divine nature within us we are looking for the way things will be in heaven, which is unchanging. So change is hard for us as humans having this mortal experience. However, Our Loving Father in Heaven knows perfectly what is best for us because He knows us perfectly. So when I change happens, it is for the best. Always. We are here to be refined and to learn and to grow. And we cannot become the heavenly glorified beings we are intended to be if we do not experience refining moments here.
So after the first night that I was here in GuaGua I had my time to be sad to leave the people I had known so well, and then the next day I woke up and there it was, the new chapter and the new places and the new people all just waiting there to be experienced and lived. And there are lots of amazing people here that I am so privileged to get to know. Like Sister Lugey. She is our Branch Chorister and Choir Director and she takes her calling very very seriously. On saturday we were practicing and she is very bossy getting everyone together and making us all sing the right parts. And she has a good ear so she can hear when we are off too. Haha. oops! On saturday we had choir practice and I was able to meet a lot of the members and they are all amazing and super sweet. They all want to feed us all the time here. They had pancit before choir practice started. I also got to meet the Branch President and his wife on saturday. Sister Maragrag is president’s wife and she is so so funny and sassy and so we had a good time during choir practice. She has two adorable kids and President Maragrag is so kind, probably just in his 30s but he is so willing to work so hard in this area and to do his very best in his calling. He is a little more quiet and serious than his wife, but also very happy and friendly.
On Sunday we had Branch Conference and the spirit was very strong. pres Dahle spoke about how “all the heaven we will ever have is the heaven we make for ourselves” And how ordinances like Sacrament and in the temple help us to order our lives according to Gods priorities. When I was singing in the choir this weekend we sang Teach me to Walk in the Light and also the Lord is My Shepherd. While we were singing I felt so strongly with just this overwhelmingly sweet feeling that these people that I was singing next to, all so kind to me right away, they are all my literal brothers and sisters. I felt so filled with the Spirit just knowing that everyone here in the Philippines is my family, even the people I am just meeting. Especially as we sang Teach Me to walk in the Light I thought about how my parents had taught me that, and now I get to teach other people that too.
What blessings! I am going to love it here in GuaGua. We are right now in an internet shop in the heart of the city. My comp is Sister Villaviles and she is so kind, she is the trainer of my follow up trainer(my last companion). She is about to go home nex transfer so I feel very privileged I get to learn from her now. She is an amazing missionary and person. She makes everyone around her feel inspired and happy.
Love all of you,
Sister McLean
This is the Sotto family.

This is the Sotto family.

This is the Sotto family. Sis Jen and her anak si Rhianne. Sis Rhianne is very smart and though she is only 8 years old she is reading the Book of Mormon(in Tagalog! much harder than English) Her mom, Sis Jen next to her is also amazing and is one of our investigators. I thought she was less active because she is so so strong. They were very sweet and fed us lots of food. I am going to get fat here! Yay.

This is the Sotto family. Sis Jen and her anak si Rhianne. Sis Rhianne is very smart and though she is only 8 years old she is reading the Book of Mormon(in Tagalog! much harder than English) Her mom, Sis Jen next to her is also amazing and is one of our investigators. I thought she was less active because she is so so strong. They were very sweet and fed us lots of food. I am going to get fat here! Yay.

This is Nanay Diane and Sister Lugey. Sister Lugey is an amazing chorister in this Branch and did an awesome job putting together a musical number for Branch Conference.

This is Nanay Diane and Sister Lugey. Sister Lugey is an amazing chorister in this Branch and did an awesome job putting together a musical number for Branch Conference.

Yesterday we went to our furthest area from our house and this is the color of the fields so beautiful. My companion is so funny and so sweet. She is like a Filipina version of the Tangled princess so I was running after her on these little tiny pathway things they have in the fields. I took this picture and then promptly almost fell super hard and  ate it. But it was so fun and so beautiful.

Yesterday we went to our furthest area from our house and this is the color of the fields so beautiful. My companion is so funny and so sweet. She is like a Filipina version of the Tangled princess so I was running after her on these little tiny pathway things they have in the fields. I took this picture and then promptly almost fell super hard and ate it. But it was so fun and so beautiful.

And here is a pic with me and some cambal(twins) They were so cute and one of them accidentally bumped her head right before this pic and the other twin wanted to cry too. Sis V wants twins very badly. Not me! But they are adorable.

And here is a pic with me and some cambal(twins) They were so cute and one of them accidentally bumped her head right before this pic and the other twin wanted to cry too. Sis V wants twins very badly. Not me! But they are adorable.

This is Sis Jenny. she is very active YW, the only active member in her family. She is looking for a job right now but doesn't want to work on Sunday. There are quite a few YW who have caught the joy of the Gospel but their Moms, Dads, and siblings have not. Another one is Sis Camille. We taught Sis Camille with her mom this week and she reminded me so much of my own mom because I tried to tell her she is a good mom, and she just kept saying how it's her kids who teach her. I want to help Sis Candeleria come back very badly. Anyway, Sis Jenny worked with us yesterday, she wants to go on a mission soon. (Next year) She is awesome and really sweet and as you can see beautiful too.

This is Sis Jenny. she is very active YW, the only active member in her family. She is looking for a job right now but doesn’t want to work on Sunday. There are quite a few YW who have caught the joy of the Gospel but their Moms, Dads, and siblings have not. Another one is Sis Camille. We taught Sis Camille with her mom this week and she reminded me so much of my own mom because I tried to tell her she is a good mom, and she just kept saying how it’s her kids who teach her. I want to help Sis Candeleria come back very badly. Anyway, Sis Jenny worked with us yesterday, she wants to go on a mission soon. (Next year) She is awesome and really sweet and as you can see beautiful too.

The Missionary Christmas

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Hi everyone!

Here it is the last week of my second transfer. It’s going by fast already. I love being here. I love being a missionary. And I LOVE GENERAL CONFERENCE. Sorry a little late to the party on that one, but when you are a missionary General Conference is pretty much more exciting than Christmas or if you know me, more exciting than Valentine’s Day! Ha. Plus we also had zone conference this week too. One of the best parts of being on a mission is getting to be taught by President and Sister Dahle and to see how the Spirit works through each of them. And also how they work together to help us as missionaries.
During zone conference, President Dahle got up and said how he felt like there was a lack of energy in the room. He then said he wanted to do something a little different to help change the spirit of the meeting. He had us pull out our Preach My Gospels and read from the section there about The Atonement. He said we would conduct the reading like a testimony meeting, whoever felt inspired to come up and read aloud could come and read from that section. Because my companion is so awesome and has helped me so much being my follow up trainer, she helped me earlier in this transfer to better understand the importance of these newsletter type emails we get each week called the Weekly Handoff. So I have been printing them and reading them much more thoroughly thanks to her… (because before I didn’t really do that, just sorta read them a little and moved on)
So in the weekly handoff there were specific instructions for us, ways we could read and prepare for Zone Meeting, and one personal study earlier in the week I decided to study directly out of there. So I had the opportunity before Zone Meeting to read this section of Preach My Gospel, from Lesson 2 Plan of Salvation


To fulfill the plan of salvation, Christ paid the penalty for our sins. He alone was able to do that. He was called and prepared in pre-Earth life. He was the literal Son of God in the flesh. He was sinless and completely obedient to His Father. Though tempted, He never gave in to temptation. When the Father asked His Beloved Son to pay the price of the world’s sins, Jesus was prepared and willing. The Atonement included His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and His suffering and death on the cross, and it ended with His Resurrection.
Though He suffered beyond comprehension—so much so that He bled from every pore and asked whether it were possible that this burden be lifted from Him—He submitted to the Father’s will in a supreme expression of love for His Father and for us. This triumph of Jesus Christ over spiritual death by His suffering and over physical death by His Resurrection is called the Atonement.

When I read that during personal study, I had this burning feeling in my chest. I was once asked by someone: Do you think you will ever understand the Atonement? And I replied with “No, I don’t think so, but I will spend my life trying.” Being a missionary is awesome, it’s happy and more rewarding than any other work, but there’s also the feelings that come to any human heart especially when really putting forth every effort into something. That feeling is the feeling President Holland spoke about in his talk from conference that accompany every single person. As all of us are fallen, as all of us are imperfect before Christ. And so when I read that sentence in Preach my Gospel, my heart suddenly felt lighter, the hard parts of missionary work, the times we feel discouraged, inadequate, or not good enough, all those feelings were washed away for me in that sentence.

So going back to zone conference, as soon as President Dahle asked us to read as if it were a testimony, my heart begin to beat out of my chest. I knew I needed to read that paragraph I had read in personal study earlier in the week. After one or two people had read the first few paragraphs of that section, I got up and walked to the podium. I actually had to convince a Filipino Elder in my district to switch with me so I could read that particular paragraph. Then I got up and in front of the whole zone read that paragraph, starting to cry as I reached the sentence in bold above. After we finished that section, we watched President Euchtdorf’s talk from conference. A sweet peace and stillness filled our conference, as we all understand the WHY of the Gospel, the WHY of the mission, the WHY of obedience. Si Jesucristo,ang Tagapagligtas natin.
I am so thankful for this experience and I am thankful for President Dahle and Sister Dahle and their inspiration. President Dahle said they had counseled together and decided it was good to change the format and direction of the meeting. I am so glad they listened to that prompting because it didn’t just change the meeting, it changed me. Of course after I got up, I had immediate “vulnerability regret”(Brene Brown), feeling a little embarassed to have cried in front of so many people that I hardly know. But truly, I have no regret about that moment because of the way it strengthened my testimony to bear it.
All of that was on Thursday for zone conference. And it was awesome because then we just had one more day and then GENERAL CONFERENCE.
And that of course was so great and made even better by being a missionary and being in the Philippines. Especially when I heard the story from Bishop Clausse in conference about the modern day African pioneers who walked 300 miles to hear conference and then walked 300 miles back with a large box of Book of Mormons. There are people here in the Philippines that I see that are like that. I thought to myself when I heard that story “Would I do that for my faith?” I am not sure I would. Though I hope someday my faith will become strong enough and deep enough that I would answer that with an unequivocal: Yes!
As we concluded conference, the choir sang “Lord I would Follow Thee” Along with a few other meek, quiet voices in the small congregation for Sunday Afternoon(less than 20 present probably) I begin to sing quietly along with the choir. I looked around the room to see who else was singing, as I did I saw the Lizada siblings. These siblings are incredible. They work so, so hard for the good of the Church. Sis Maria is the YW president. Bro Efren is in the Branch Presidency and has a calling in the district too, their younger sister is in the young women presidency too. Magtatag sila talaga. Sis Lizada just got home from her mission in February. They are both YSA. Working hard on my mission, I am not sure I would want to go home and hold some kind of big calling in the Church. But these siblings are willing to work and work. To truly give all their time talents and resources to the Lord. As I looked at them singing “Lord I would Follow Thee” my heart swelled. I realized who I want to be after my mission. I want to be like Sis Maria Lizada. After the prayer, I came up to her and told her how I felt, how I admired her willingness to serve the Young Women here in this Branch. It’s not always easy for them, and neither is it for any of the members here who are really the supports of the Branch. But like those modern day pioneers in Africa, they are willing and they are happy.
These siblings are even more incredible to me because neither of their parents have been completely active their whole lives. Tatay Lizada has only been to Church on the day he was confirmed. Their mom has been up and down with church activity. We have lately had the privilege to visit with Nanay Aurora in order to help her prepare to enter the temple. Every lesson we usually ask the people we teach to give the closing prayer. So we asked Nanay Aurora to pray in our first lesson with her. Her prayer was sweet and powerful as she prayed to be strengthened in herself before going to the temple next month. It was the first time Sis Maria ever heard her mom pray.
These are the kinds of moments we get to be part of as missionaries. There is nothing better. Nothing sweeter. I love being here. Transfer day is next week and there is a mix of emotions but I know that it will all be directed by the Lord. I have loved serving here in Liozon and have met so many people I will remember for the rest of my life. Of course I wish I could tell you about all of them, but walang horas na!
I really want to share the story of Elder Escobal but I don’t have time to type it up so here are my companions words
“This week we were able to attend the Funeral Service of Brother Virgilio Escobal. This man and his sweet family really touched my heart. Brother Al passed away this last week from cancer. He found out about this cancer about 2 months ago and it was already in stage 4. Me and Sister Mclean had the privilege of visiting with him a couple times in the last days of his life. I will never forget that sweet moments as we were able to read together form the book of mormon, pray together and most of all the spirit that was there to give comfort. I will also never forget the moment when brother Virgilio lifted up his week head and we looked each other in the eye and smiled. Those moments will always be in my heart, especially because I was able to share moments with him, while his son Elder Escobal who is serving in the Davao mission couldn’t. When Elder Escobal left on his mission they had no idea that his dad had cancer. They informed him of his dads condition as soon as they found out and this last week when he passed away Elder Esobal was able to come home to attend his funeral service. I will never forget the opportunity that we had to sit with Elder Escobal and talk to him about his mission. He is so meek and so faithful, i look up to him so much. He will be returning to finish his mission tomorrow. I am so thankful for the spirit and for the power, strength, comfort and assurance that it brings. I am so thankful for faithful examples like Brother and Elder Escobal. I am even more thankful for my Savior Jesus Christ, because of his atoning sacrifice death has no sting!”
 
Just to add to her story, Elder Escobal is home for just a few days for the funeral of his father before returning to his mission. Across the street from his father’s funeral, there was another funeral we were attending for another member that died. During the service, I looked up and saw Elder Escobal sitting there too. Even in the middle of his own grief and his family’s grief, he had taken the time to go to another funeral. “What an amazing example of Christlike love for others” I thought. Truly truly so many people here who are shining examples to me.
Last of all, I would like to invite each of you to study the talk about fasting from Pres. Eyring. Think of the people here in the Philippines when you fill out your little slip. We are a worldwide church and more than that a worldwide family.
I love all of you. I pray for you. Mahal na mahal kita. Mahal kayo ni Jesucristo.
Sister McLean
Here is a pic of the sweetest angel Nanay we met on the street the other day. We literally had to look twice and pinch ourselves because we thought maybe she was actually just a visiting angel.

Here is a pic of the sweetest angel Nanay we met on the street the other day. We literally had to look twice and pinch ourselves because we thought maybe she was actually just a visiting angel.

These two girls are the nieces of Sis Baby. Their names are Andrea and Isai. They are best friends and cousins and so so cute. They were laughing and pointing to Sis Dahl and I saying, "I am her" "and you be her"

These two girls are the nieces of Sis Baby. Their names are Andrea and Isai. They are best friends and cousins and so so cute. They were laughing and pointing to Sis Dahl and I saying, “I am her” “and you be her”

Sister Dahle and Sister McLean

Sister Dahle and Sister McLean

Zone Conference

Zone Conference

Oh and here is a patay chicken. We did not kill it. Found Sis Baby walking around with in in her hand holding by the feet like it was no big deal. Sis Dahl thought it was a payong(umbrella) and then she thought it was still alive. Anyway, there you go! Dinner for the family!

Oh and here is a patay chicken. We did not kill it. Found Sis Baby walking around with in in her hand holding by the feet like it was no big deal. Sis Dahl thought it was a payong(umbrella) and then she thought it was still alive. Anyway, there you go! Dinner for the family!

From Sister Dahl, (Marissa’s companion):

Hello!!!

Wow! What a great General Conference! We are so blessed! I loved so so so much from it. I can’t wait to study and read the talks again and go through and highlight the things that prick at my heart and strive to work on those things!

This week we were able to attend the Funeral Service of Brother Al Escobal. This man and his sweet family really touched my heart. Brother Al passed away this last week from cancer. He found out about this cancer about 2 months ago and it was already in stage 4. Me and Sister Mclean had the privilege of visiting with him a couple times in the last days of his life. I will never forget that sweet moments as we were able to read together form the book of mormom, pray together and most of all the spirit that was there to give comfort. I will also never forget the moment when brother Al lifted up his week head and we looked each other in the eye and smiled. Those moments will always be in my heart, especially because I was able to share moments with him, while his son Elder Escobal who is serving in the Davao mission couldn’t. When Edler Escobal left on his mission they had no idea that his dad had cancer. They informed him of his dads condition as soon as they found out and this last week when he passed away Elder Esobal was able to come home to attend his funeral service. I will never forget the opportunity that we had to sit with Elder Escobal and talk to him about his mission. He is so meek and so faithful, i look up to him so much. He will be returning to finish his mission tomorrow. I am so thankful for the spirit and for the power, strength, comfort and assurance that it brings. I am so thankful for faithful examples like Brother and Elder Escobal. I am even more thankful for my Savior Jesus Christ, because of his atoning sacrifice death has no sting!
Okay one more touching story this week. There was one day this last week that was just hard for me, I felt as though I was just going through the motions and because of that it just wasn’t the funnest and best day, until Heavenly Father placed the perfect little angel in the path of me and Sister Mclean, here name was Nanay Zoila!!! She is perfect!! She was just sitting on a little bench on the side of the road and when I saw her, my heart immediately smiled! I knew my day was better! We got to sit down and talk to her and laugh and hold each others hands! As we walked away I kept looking over my shoulder to make sure she was still there because I literally thought that she might have been a real angel hahaha! She was still there and my day was made, Heavenly Father knows us all so personally and individually and knows the exact people and things that will make us happy!
I love being a missionary, I love this gospel. I love our prophet and leaders of this church. I love prophet Joseph Smith. I love the plan of God. I love my Savior Jesus Christ!
Sister Dahl

Visiting Angel!

Visiting Angel!

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We’ve got dinner!

Happy Easter!

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Hi Everyone!

Happy Easter Week!
This week was an amazing week. Sorry that I have not written a lot the last few weeks. Sometimes email time just goes by really fast. But I want to write and tell you about some of the experiences I am having here in this area. There are so many people here we are finding that are so prepared.
In missionary work there are many different kinds of efforts you put worth. There are some people you talk to who have had seeds planted in their hearts before. For them you are there to water and nourish, to enrich the knowledge they already have. For others you are the first to plant a seed.
And still more whose time has come to reap and harvest. To a farmer none of thses steps is more or less important. Perhaps even more care is taken as the plant grows because before the fruit is ripe and that is when the plant is most vulnerable. SO iot is with faith, before it grows into a deeply rooted plant, it is important to clear the weeds and nourish the ground.
Right now we are working with people who have roots of faith that have brought forth much fruit. Though there is no one stage that is more important than the other, being able to speak with people who have a very sincere desire to hear your message and to grow a testimony is very rewarding.
There are so many experiences and so many people that I want to tell you all about. And so little time. AAAAAH! Haha.
I love my companion so much and we are working so hard here in Liozon.
I guess I will just tell you all quickly about yesterday, our Easter.
We were fasting yesterday as the first Sunday of the month, and we were really excited because there was Women’s Conference and General Conference is like Christmas here on a mission. We will be watching the General Conference next week, but we got to watch Women’s Conference last night. Before that though we went to Church, of course. During Relief Society, the lesson was on one of the talks in the Liahona which was about being Brave or Matapang. I looked around at the women in the room and realized I was privileged to be able to be sitting amongst some of the bravest people I have ever had the privilege to know. Nanay Aida who faced her husband’s death last year, her grandson getting a skin disease that may be there for the rest of his life, and before that her son dying in his 20s. Yet she still chooses to have faith to continue to pray and to believe that someday all of her inactive children will come back. There is Sister Jill who started a salon business here, and last week bore her testimony to all of her coworkers who are nonmembers. Sister Lizada who is preparing to go through the temple after being less active, coming back even though she doesn’t have a lot of friends in the Branch, making adjustments so she can enter the temple next month. And almost every woman in the room sitting there I could think of their sacrifices to come to Church, with or without their family or their husbands. I admire them so much. Near the end, Nanay Merit,the RS President, whose son in his early 20s has been very seriously ill and needed blood transfusions stood up and said how thankful she is to be part of this Church, how she knows the Lord has been blessing her and watching over her. And how us as missionaries have helped her. I don’t know if my son had a near death illness if I would be able to stand up and say that I still trust the Lord. This woman is my example, she says we have somehow helped her, but really her testimony has helped mine. The Branch stepped in and helped find blood for him when he needed it, he is now back at home and healing. I stood up after her and said how this was a perfect moment of bravery, she had shown willingness to share her experience and rely on the Branch. It truly was a beautiful Relief Society and beautiful Easter.
There are times I sit with people and visit with them and there is not much I can say, there is nothing in my overprivileged faraway experience that I can give them. But I can help them understand that I love them and that Christ loves them. It changes people’s lives when they feel this. President Eyring’s talk in Women’s Conference about compassion and comfort to others as the never failing tool we always have reminded me of this. I can let my heart grow here. Trust that there will always be room. And always remember these people here are not just members, they are not just investigators, they are my Brothers and Sisters in Christ. I love the Philippines. I love being a missionary. It is already going by so fast. I miss all of you and I pray for you too.
Love,
Sister McLean

district conference

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We had a beautiful meeting yesterday for District Conference. It was yesterday and the day before. Sis Dahl and I decided to fast. I am very grateful for her as a companion. I am learning so much from her. WE are very united in working hard and doing the very best we can. Sometimes there is stress of course but I am learning how I am only one small part on the long tapestry of events on God’s timeline. I truly believe there is time for everyone on this earth who has lived or will ever live or lives now to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Heavenly Father’s purposes truly will be accomplished.

During the closing song yesterday the youth choir got up to sing Lord I will Follow Thee. In those moments of them singing the first few verses, a few tentative voices began to sing with them. I joined in the parts I could remember, looking over at Sister Gardner, a new Senior Sister Missionary who just got here this week with her husband. I felt suddenly the fervor and importance of my mission call. When I got my call I felt very little other than shock that I was actually going to the country of my mother’s birth. She began to cry but I did not because I did not understand the meaning behind my call., But when we were singing those verses it struck me vividly that the Lord has asked me to be here. That my mission call is really coming from Him. The deeper I understand this principle, the greater my love for Him. And along with that, comes the understanding that this is not a sacrifice it is a privilege and a sacred opportunity coming from Christ, my Lord and my Shepherd. I forget sometimes how much He loves me and how he truly believes me to be worthy of this calling and to be His servant here.
With that comes a deeper understanding of my calling. We are seeing miracles in Liozon. We are seeing people come out of nowhere to hear our message. I am not doing much just being here and saying the small short things that come to me through the Spirit.
Love all of you!
Sister McLean
Sister McLean and her companion, Sister Dahl

Sister McLean and her companion, Sister Dahl